Ken Wade an eternal optimist

I made it to the “Citizens 4 Change” kickoff event at the main library this morning. So did Mayor Elect Gary Leitzell and former Dayton School Board candidate Jim Weir. We listened to political neophyte (because he doesn’t want to be a politician) give an hour and 15 minute ramble on how the “real people” will bring “real results” to changing Dayton. He talked a lot about something that doesn’t cost a penny, but we’re deep in debt on in our community: pride.

From his website:

Dec 19th: “Citizens 4 Change” Dayton Day! The moment that we have all been working so hard for. (Here's the rundown: Expected attendence: 70-85 Topics to be discussed. Operation “Dimes 4 Dayton”….A general overview of “Citizens 4 Change” Dayton….Intro of our Community Captains and open forum discussion for the residents and visitors who have general questions and or wish to have their voice heard on city improvement!

via Real People = Real Results!: Our “Citizens 4 Change” Schedule Dec 18-22nd.

Unfortunately, attendance was around two dozen people. No media coverage (unless you count me). But, it’s been my experience never to underestimate the power of a small group- or a US Army paratrooper.

Ken’s ideas are much like the strategy we’re using in Iraq to win over one neighborhood at a time as a way to stabilize and secure an area. However, he won’t have the resources of the US Government to back his teams up. He’s looking to fund his efforts with collection cans near cash registers- “dimes for Dayton” and to direct 100% of the proceeds to reinvestment.

He even talked about a social services hotline- something that we already have with the 211 system that no one knows about (Gary and I both learned of the SEVEN year old service on the campaign trail).

While it’s easy for people to write off Ken and his idealism, I find it refreshing to watch him and think back how I thought I could change Dayton back when I first ran for Mayor (that was 20 years ago). Looking at what’s left of our city after years of disinvestment and negativity, I’m not convinced that Ken can make a difference, but I’m going to be rooting for him and supporting him as best I can- and I’d ask that you do to.

What do we have to lose?

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22 Responses

  1. Will Brooks December 19, 2009 / 4:32 pm
    Thanks for the report. I am buried in work and couldn’t go.

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  2. Will Brooks December 19, 2009 / 4:36 pm
    @ David. Just reread your last paragraph. Many times people who have been at things longer with seemingly little results are paving the road for those to come later. Anyways, not trying wax philosophical. Timing has a lot to do with these types of initiatives. There are a lot of other stars in alignment, so to speak, at the moment. It remains to be seen whether we are off to a good start or a false start.

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  3. Kenneth Wade A December 19, 2009 / 4:44 pm
    While there wasn’t the turnout which we had expected, I do believe that Mother Nature had a not so friendly hand to play in that. Last night around 10pm I got five calls and 16 emails from people who said that they would not be able to make it out (because of their living outside of town)  The bottom line is as I say all the time, real people do = equal real results. Just check out the food that we raised from our 1st food drive and I think that speaks for itself. I’ll have some new pics up of course, and I hope you and your family have a merry x-mas! Btw I didn’t tell you that we have a sponsor to the tune of 7500 dollars a year (for our advertising) cost. That’s not bad, and it is a good start.

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  4. William Herrick December 19, 2009 / 4:48 pm
    “When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”  —  Jacob August Riis (May 3, 1849 – May 26, 1914)

    He was a Danish American social reformer, muckraking journalist and photographer.  He is known for his dedication to using his photographic and journalistic talents to help the impoverished in New York City, which was the subject of most of his prolific writings and photography. He helped with the implementation of “model tenements” in New York with the help of humanitarian Lawrence Veiller. As one of the most prominent exponents of the newly practicable flash, he is considered a pioneer in photography.

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  5. Rodney J December 19, 2009 / 5:04 pm
    I’ll tell you this much,  Ken is a smart young man. I met him the other day down at the Kroger Store. he makes a personal connection with people, and he’s right if more people cared about what goes on in this city…if more people gave a damn then we would be in a much better state. I for one wanted to attend today, but due to some unfortunate family circumstances I was not able to. I do believe that his efforts are important, because something like this has been needed for far too long in Dayton!

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  6. Will Brooks December 19, 2009 / 5:38 pm
    @Ken Wade A. – I would say that you are off to a good start. However, within the scope of my comment, I am talking about a lot of other recent events both public and confidential. Hopefully you don’t think I was referring to you. Plus the movement you are spearheading is exciting but I tend to have a “wait and see” approach on matters. Even though I am optimistic, I have had a lot of very harsh let downs dealt me in life. I’m a bit battle scarred.

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  7. Kenneth Wade A. December 19, 2009 / 5:45 pm
    @ Will

         You are most certainly correct, actions do speak louder than words, but the good news is we have a plan in place and good support and as we begin the work inside of our communities we will garner even more excitement. Like I said weather played a bad factor today but 23 great people showed up. The bottom line is our current way of doing business in the city is shattered for lack of a better word and it’s going to be REAL people who fix it!

    @Rodney J.   I thank you for the kind words and hope to see you again when we start our work up here in a few months.

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  8. Seth December 20, 2009 / 9:58 am
    Good luck to him.  The more people doing what they can the better.

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  9. Gene December 20, 2009 / 9:18 pm
    The difference between a city like Dayton and a City like Omaha is all attitude. One visit to Omaha NE and you feel the pride they have for their city. This is why they have the lowest unemployment rate for any city of a decent size in the United States.

    Copy Omaha and we would be just fine.

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  10. Jim Hastings December 20, 2009 / 9:47 pm
    Ken is on the right track and I support his efforts….he’ll have a hard fight but the trick to his success will be to remain committed to the cause and not become wrapped up politically with any party! GO DAYTON and GO “Citizens 4 Change”

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  11. Robert Vigh December 21, 2009 / 1:03 am
    Dear Kenneth,
    I went to what I think is your website, following the link in the original article. You post no goal and no mission statement other than change. I read many of the posts and you also encourage people to get out and vote for change. Best I can tell you are asking people for money with no defined goal, no defined mission and you seem to already have political leanings. What neighborhood needs it the most? What criteria will you use to make this determination? You make references to political parties and call for change, with whom do you favor?
    @ DE: From one of Kenneth’s post: We at “Citizens 4 Change” had this to say in response to the current unemployement rate, and what can and should be done to bring new jobs into the Miami Valley Region. Here’s an idea.(OUR leadership, city manager included PURSUE business leads, NOT just sit behind a desk and punch a clock. Make this YOUR sole purpose, seek out the right industry, the right people to invest their money into our city.) Offer incentives for these industries to come to our area, perhaps in the form of a tax break. Bottom line is YOU must pursue these leads, seek them out and learn NOT to take NO for an answer. You must LOOK harder!
    Memory serves me correctly, you are hysterically against corporate welfare, David.

    Back @ Kenneth. What is your underlying philosophy, if so empowered, would you make your “charity” funded with taxes?

    I scrutinize my dimes and the cart looks a little ahead of the horse.

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  12. David Esrati December 21, 2009 / 9:19 am

    @Robert Vigh- If you are quoting something online- please place a link. Apparently blogger’s serach function isn’t working on ourdayton- I couldn’t find the phrases you quote.

    I don’t agree with government enticing business by subsidy. I believe Ken Wade is naïve, but has good intentions. I still believe that it’s better to champion the idealist than to smack him down- but, in Dayton we seem to make sport of smacking down those with new ideas- or different ideas.

    Go watch “The Music Man” again- is he really a con man, if he gets something done? How is Ken different than so many preachers who promise the richness of life with god- as they drive their Mercedes Benz’s?

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  13. Robert Vigh December 21, 2009 / 9:34 am
    His intentions may very well align with my own beliefs, however, he does not state it. Since there was some encouragement to go vote for change, it does not first appear as an altruistic charity. As far as championing idealism, I agree. But, when you intermingle that with voting and potential influence on public resources I would like to know more. Hence, the cart appears before the horse.

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  14. Kenneth Wade A. December 21, 2009 / 9:45 am
    To begin with, there are no political leanings. This effort is about real people coming together for a great cause of city improvement. If you read our earlier postings on http://www.ourdayton.com you will see how and why Westwood was picked to begin working in. The residents voted on it. I encourage you to read through all of our older posts on the site as if states the purpose of our group and just what we hope to accomplish. The bottom line is Real People = Real Results and they will be the ones to bring about real change.
    Kenneth Wade

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  15. Kenneth Wade A December 21, 2009 / 11:44 am
    Oh yeah, btw I don’t drive a Mercedes…I drive a 1997 Dodge Ram….and I do care about what happens to this city. There’s a great deal I’ve learned from my time in the army as a NCO. Sometimes if you want something done right you have jump in and get it goin. What’s wrong with asking neighbors to care for one another and look out for each other’s well being? These were principals that our country was first founded on. If our communities became more like families, then we wouldn’t have a good majority of the problems which we have today! That’s a fact, as simple as it may be…and it’s time that we get back to the basics and the roots.

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  16. Robert Vigh December 21, 2009 / 11:51 am
    Kenneth,
    I would suggest you get your current goals and/or missions statement in place for easy viewing. I also recommend you make a formal posted contract about the movement of money on your website. This basically contracts you with your donors to follow through on your stated goals. Whether I agree with you or not, this would help attract people to your efforts. Without these items, I browsed through about 40 comments. I gathered that you are studying other cities and want to attract jobs from those regions. You also want to pass this information along to elected officials? My point is, you have not directly stated a goal and it is easy to infer that you would utilize resources as a lobby to encourage government subsidy of job creation. I am whole heartedly against that and would oppose it at any public level. If you want to privately subsidize a business and wanted donations, then I would want to see a mission statement etc, as I am basically investing at that point.

    Regarding your political leanings, it was interpretive based on your reply to Greg. He stated something about voting and your final statement was ….now go vote. You may have just been reflecting his attitude in a neutral manner.

    I read all 59 comments (now) that were available. I see where you make a relative comparison to CEO’s which is concerning. I also see where you talk about government waste and how the money should go to where you think it should go. How is your united voice not a lobbying a voice? And, If you are going to lobby to waste money on neighborhood A instead of project B as opposed to lowering costs to citizens, then I simply would not choose to empower your organization.

    Anyway, that is my 2 cents. I will check back on your organization in time and if I agree with your philosophy and pursuits I will donate and if not, well, there are other charities.

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  17. Kenneth Wade A. December 21, 2009 / 12:07 pm
    The idea of having the mission statement up front for everyone to see is a great idea. Thank you for your comments, suggestions and ways to build upon our success thusfar. As I say all the time, EVERYONE has a voice in Dayton and it needs to be heard and it will be heard. May you have a great day and Merry Christmas.

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  18. Keith Harding December 21, 2009 / 2:03 pm
    I have been following your efforts Ken since the early days of the “Citizens 4 Change” inception. I must say that I admire your hard work and you do have a great deal of enthusiasm. I like what you’re doing, but time will tell if it has an impact. I for one support your efforts and hope that you remain true to the cause of helping out those that need it the most. Good luck and thanks for serving our country!

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  19. Will Brooks December 21, 2009 / 3:10 pm
    @David E – He name is Ken Wade A. Thought you would want to know.

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